7 Fun Activities for Kids Using Artificial Illumination
At Cocoweb.com, we find it crucial to educate others on the many purposes of lighting. It goes well beyond ensuring we can see at nighttime, add extra security to our home, and even see tasks we’re performing in better light.
However, illumination is not only important; it’s fun too! But have you ever used lighting with the intent to entertain? Maybe or maybe not. From games and crafts, to science projects, to DIYs, there is a lot we can do with artificial light.
Here are ways you can have fun with illumination with children:
1. 1, 2, 3 Look and See
1, 2, 3, Look and See is a simple yet entertaining game, especially great for the classroom setting. Place several medium and larger objects (e.g., chairs, books, a trash can, etc.) around a semi-clean room, turn off all of the light fixtures in the room so it is pitch black, take away or move an object, then flip the lights back on. Ask participating children what changed.
This game is a great way to get children to focus and to help improve their memory. As the game progresses, try to make it even harder! You may even want to throw in a round or few where you don’t move or take away any objects.
2. Shadow Silhouette Art
If you and your children or students want to get a little crafty, try Shadow Silhouette Art. In a dark room, use a flashlight or light fixture such as a floor lamp with an adjustable shade (we recommend a flood light) to allow for your child’s shadow to project onto the wall or floor.
You or another child should then draw (or trace if you can) the other child’s neck up from a side perspective with a white crayon or white colored pencil on black construction paper. Then, cut out the area that you traced/drew. You just created a silhouette! Considering framing and hanging it on the wall. This silhouette can also be used as a stencil, so you can trace it onto a canvas and paint it if you wish.
Silhouette art has been around since approximately the 18th century. They were particularly popular in France. While less common, today silhouettes can still be found, especially in jewelry.
3. Plant Growth Project: Natural Versus Artificial Light
Do the Plant Growth Project at home or in a classroom with children of many ages. It’s a great science project that tells a lot about the difference between natural and artificial lighting.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups or pots
- 1 small bag of soil
- 1 packet of bean seeds
- 1 small table lamp
Fill both of your cups or pots with soil to the top, place two or three beans in each pot and cover, then water. Place one of your two pots in a windowsill that receives plenty of lighting. Place the other in the dark where there is no source of natural light. Place a working lamp or other light fixture over the pot.
Over the next few weeks, make sure you turn on the light fixture over the second pot about the same time the natural lighting hits the windowsill pot to ensure they receive equal amounts of light daily. Have children record the growth of each bean plant once it sprouts. Children may log what each plant looks like in size and color. They may even draw what the plants look like, and if they are a little older, may even record the measurement of each on a daily basis.
Doing this activity, children will learn how plants are affected in different types of lighting. They may notice that one of the two plants may be more leggy or slower to grow than the other!
4. Bat Signal
This next activity is a very simple one but is fun for children’s bedrooms or during imaginative play. Print out a large cartoon bat with its wings out, cut it out, trace it onto thick cardboard, and cut out the bat onto the cardboard. (You can also just freehand draw the bat onto the cardboard if you prefer.)
Under the shade of a floor lamp with an adjustable head, tape the cardboard bat onto it. Turn on the lamp, and adjust the lamp’s head to the ceiling or wall to project the bat shadow. Now your child can have a neat lamp to flip on at night or even prop for their action figures or roleplaying.
5. Stop, Walk, Run
Here’s another game fun for children (and even adults): Stop, Walk, Run. It’s quite similar to the game, Simon Says, but is completely visual. If you have a dimmable light fixture, you’re already set to play this game.
To play the game, make sure players keep these signals in mind:
- Light’s on full blast: Run
- Light’s dimmed: Walk
- Light’s off: Stop
Have one person control the light fixture. Instead of just turning the light on, dimming it, and turning it off in the same order, mix it up. Maybe the light controller will turn on the light, turn it back off, then turn it on again. (In this case, the other participants would run, stop, then run.) At any time a player does the wrong thing, such as runs when the light is dimmed instead of walks, eliminate this player from the game. Whoever is the last one left is the winner!
The light fixture you use for this game does not have to be the general lighting in the room. It can be a table lamp or a floor lamp: something simple. Especially for younger players, be cautious playing around with the light too much, too fast. The idea isn’t to make the game impossible or eye-straining but something fun, offers a great workout, and is great for mental agility and memory.
6. Shadow Puppet Show
Of course we haven’t forgotten about a good ole shadow puppet show! You’ll need to flip off the lights and use a flashlight or floor lamp with an adjustable shade to allow shadows to project onto the wall.
Children can learn how to make shadow puppet bunnies, dogs, and other animals or even people just for fun. This is a great way to learn how shadows are created. Children may also wish to use actual puppets or paper cutouts to put on a play. To add to the activity, have children memorize lines for their puppets or cutouts and record the act or even perform in front of others!
7. Cardboard Box Night Light
For those who have a cardboard box lying around, have fun with children making a Cardboard Box Night Light. You can use a box as big or as small as you’d like and multiple or just one box.
There are many different tutorials online for how to approach this, but basically, you’ll be cutting out several holes or shapes into your cardboard box then be placing a bright light fixture inside of it, turn it on, and allow for the patterns to illuminate onto the walls of a dark room.
Here are some different tutorials of what you may decide to cut out in your cardboard box:
Or be creative and come up with your very own design!
There are many ways to have fun with light. Whether you choose to play Stop, Walk, Run, or create a Cardboard Box Nightlight, you can get all of your light fixture needs – for both fun activities and for serious purposes – over at our Cocoweb store. We have many LED, high-quality fixtures such as barn lights, picture lights, piano lamps, pendant lights, and much more! You can get them all for a fair price in plenty of colors and sizes to choose from.